End of an era for Joyland

WICHITA, Kansas – – For 55 years, Joyland Amusement Park was known for thrills and family fun to many people in Wichita.

Opening its doors in 1949, the park had roller coaster rides, a ferris wheel, as well as playing host to company picnics and school night for young children.

Ginger Hudson use to frequent the park when she was a child.

Hudson says it once was the place to be in Wichita.

“I would say it was the most popular place, and the one place we most look forward to going,” said Hudson.

However, these days the park is pretty much abandoned.

The park closed in 2006 and since than has repeatedly been targeted by vandals and arsonists.

Margaret Nelson Spear and her late husband, Stan, became the full-time park owners in the mid-1970s.

She says the Joyland era has come to an end.

“It’s basically over, I know the young adults who want to revive Joyland, I’m sorry to say I don’t think it will happen,” said Spear.

Spear said it would take millions of dollars to clean and restore the park to its former glory.

While it’s unlikely the park will be brought back to life, some local organizations are trying to at least keep a little bit of the Joyland legacy alive.

The Historic Preservation Alliance of Wichita & Sedgwick County purchased six items from the park in 2010.

They held off on doing anything with the items in case someone decided to reopen the park.

Wednesday afternoon they came out to the park to move the items, which include a carriage and the original roller coaster ticket booth, to a Garvey Warehouse.

They will be stored in the facility until they can be restored.

Historic Preservation Alliance President Greg Kite says the hope is to possibly put these pieces of Joyland in a travelling display at some point.

“We believe that’s the way we can remember Joyland, relive Joyland and remember what we had as children,” said Kite.

Tuesday, Spear donated Joyland’s merry-go-round to Botanica.

Botanica also has plans to restore the carousel at some point.


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